BY SANDY STAGGS
Just as Shakespeare so eloquently lays out in his Prologue the fate of the doomed teen lovers in “Romeo and Juliet,” we are warned up front that things will end badly in “Capture Now,” the latest entry in the Fringe Series at Centre Stage.
Chris Cashon is a Jewish lad in New York who is about to lead us on a heartfelt journey with his 5-year-old baby brother, Ace, in this 2008 Off-Broadway show by Josh Jonas
The catch is both brothers are portrayed by Cashon, as are the other 11 other roles in this coming-of-age tale set in the 1970s.
Cashon, in a hearty New York accent, glides between the characters effortlessly (male and female) and unilaterally draws us into his universe. He radiates as both of his parents who are expecting their second child, begrudgingly accepting Elijah’s choice of Ace, over more respectable Jewish forenames, in addition to his own girlfriend, Jessica, who he meets in a theatre class.
I know a little about a one-person show, just having produced “I Am My Own Wife,” a play with 35 roles by one actor. And the transitions here are solid.
His mannerism, voice and personality all morph skillfully as he embodies his pregnant mother struggling to sit down in her chair, his adorable brother, or the audience-favorite waitress who smokes non-filtered cigarettes and a gruff and gravelly voice to boot.
Some characters are one-liner, one-dimensional tropes like his homosexual friend or the school’s Mr. Popular, but others are more fleshed such as the over-the-top earthy teacher who conducts class in the lotus position.
The central question of “How do you capture ‘now’?” is ironically posed by the toddler Ace. Elijah’s mission is to relay and “capture” those precious years with his brother, and the pivotal moments from his typical adolescence (girls, alcohol, anxiety, etc.).
Music (on LPS no doubt)is used as conduit, a bond between the siblings with everything from The Damned from the harrowing melodic scream from Led Zeppelin’s “The Immigrant Song,” which Cashon emotes quite effectively on several occasions.
“Capture Now” is a romanticized memory play. It’s light and frothy, and highly sentimental with a gentle tug on the heartstrings and a very tidy circular resolution.
Directed by Laura Nicholas who, by day, is Centre Stage’s executive associate. The staging is swift and ambitious, utilizing the entire first floor of the Greek villa set of the hit musical “MAMMA MIA!”
And Cameron R. Smith, Assistant Director and Stage Manager, takes full advantage of Kevin Frazier’s lighting setup from “MAMMA MIA!”, providing the visual and timing cues with effective lighting for the many locations and all of the planes of the space.
“Capture Now” continues Tuesday and Wednesday, April 3-4 at 7 p.m. at Centre Stage, 501 River St. Greenville. Tickets start at $10. Call (864) 233-6733 or visit http://www.centrestage.org.